Thursday, January 3, 2019


Phoenix Tower acquires small cell operator Syscom Telecom – Regional

At a Glance: VoLTE networks in LatAm – Regional

ICT Tender: São Paulo selects America Net to expand Wi-Fi program – Brazil

Slim could revive Mexican aircraft telecoms unit – Mexico

Brazil creates data protection authority – Brazil

Our Mission “Influence the innovation and development of ICT solutions for the benefit of members by developing, navigating and leveraging relationships with all stakeholders.” “Advocate for policies, legislation and rules which advance the creation of an environment which facilitates the deployment of services and technologies around the region.”
Vision “To become the leading authority in shaping information, communication and technology in the Caribbean Region and the Americas.”


Phoenix Tower acquires small cell operator Syscom Telecom – Regional

US-based Phoenix Tower International (PTI) said it acquired small cell operator Syscom Telecom, which has a Latin American footprint.

The price tag was not disclosed.

Outside of its home market, Syscom Telecom has a presence in Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Germany, Portugal and Spain. It specializes in deploying and maintaining telecommunications infrastructure for mobile communications and IoT, among others, mostly in unconventional locations such as high-visibility billboards.

“Recently PTI has made numerous strategic investments across the Americas to support this business plan including the acquisition of 1,000 km of fiber in Mexico, the investment in Fast Site Solutions in Central America, and the investment in Syscom LatAm in South America, which have allowed PTI to lead next generation solutions on behalf of our customers with dedicated teams in all markets,” the buyer said in a statement.

As part of its regional expansion, PTI recently purchased Altice’s tower business in the Dominican Republic, as well as 451 sites from Digicel in Jamaica.

In the US, the acquisition will add 80,000 small cell sites to PTI’s portfolio.

At a Glance: VoLTE networks in LatAm – Regional

Some 18 mobile networks in countries in Latin America were using VoLTE (voice over LTE) technology by the third quarter of the year, according to a new report by 5G Americas based on public announcements from carriers and media reports.

Colombia and Mexico have three active VoLTE networks each, followed by Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Peru and Puerto Rico, with two each, and Ecuador, with one.

In addition to those already in place, another 14 VoLTE networks are also being tested in Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay and Venezuela, among others, said 5G Americas.

According to a November report by the Global Suppliers Association (GSA), there were 15 commercial VoLTE deployments in 10 Latin American and Caribbean countries or territories.

These were Argentina (Movistar), Mexico (TelcelAmérica Móvil), Chile (Entel, Movistar), Colombia (Avantel, Movistar, Claro), Peru (Movistar, Claro), Ecuador (Movistar), Brazil (TIM Brasil, Vivo), Panama (Cable & Wireless), and Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (AT&T Mobility).

The first carrier to launch VoLTE in Latin America was Brazil’s TIM in July 2017.

At the end of November, TIM’s VoLTE was available in 2,522 municipalities in the country, including all Brazilian state capitals, a number of localities and populations covered that is unmatched by any other carrier in the region.

VoLTE allows users to make HD calls. It also enables more efficient use of spectrum than traditional voice, greater stability, reduced battery consumption and eliminates the need to have voice and data on separate networks.

ICT Tender: São Paulo selects America Net to expand Wi-Fi program – Brazil

São Paulo selected telecom services provider America Net to expand a free local public Wi-Fi program to up to 619 sites, from the current 120 squares and parks.

This is twice the expansion the Brazilian city was originally planning for the program. The terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The process is being overseen by the municipal department of innovation and technology, which said the sign-up process for other interested companies will remain open for six months.

Brazil’s largest city expects to save up to 12mn reais (US$3.2mn) per year, the amount necessary to maintain the 120 sites, by transferring to the private sector the maintenance of the entire program.

Under the terms of the call, America Net and other interested companies will have the right to benefit from a business model based on digital advertising, in a contract valid initially for five years.

“We are proposing a private sector financing model that does not burden public coffers and ensures quality internet for regions of greater social vulnerability,” São Paulo innovation and tech secretary Daniel Annenberg said

The terms of the contract are in compliance with Brazil’s internet bill of rights (Marco Civil da Internet) and with the recently approved data protection law, the city administration said, respecting the right to privacy, network neutrality and personal data protection.

America Net offers voice and data service and claims to have the fifth largest proprietary fiber optic network in the country, spanning over 16,000km.

In March, the company launched an MVNO eyeing the corporate market and using TIM‘s network, with investments of more than 100mn reais.

America Net was founded in 1996 as a corporate telecoms services provider. Located in the state of São Paulo, it has 15 offices across eight states.

Slim could revive Mexican aircraft telecoms unit – Mexico

Mexican telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim could still start offering mobile telecommunications for aircraft via his company Aerocomunicaciones because it is in the process of extending its license to use the 849-896MHz spectrum after it expired in 2008, local daily El Universal reported.

The country’s telecoms regulator, the IFT, received an unfavorable opinion on the renewal of the license in December 2017 from its own economic competition unit.

“Since [the company] does not currently offer the aforementioned services, the economic competition unit considered that authorizing the extension of the license, instead of tendering the awarded spectrum, would create entry barriers for new operators and stop the efficient allocation of such spectrum for the D-ATG [direct air to ground communications] market,” the IFT’s 4Q17 activities report stated.

However, the company’s extension request is still being processed and the government could demand payment in exchange for renewing the connectivity service, which is currently seen as more desirable than it was years ago, the paper added.

Back in 2008, these air connectivity services “were too exclusive… but now communications are a more basic need; we all want to be connected and airplanes are a good opportunity not to waste time and have data connectivity,” Jorge Bravo of local consultancy Mediatelecom Policy and Law was quoted as saying by the daily.

Brazil creates data protection authority – Brazil

In one of the last acts of his presidency, Brazil’s Michel Temer (pictured) signed a provisional decree creating the national authority for the protection of personal data (ANPD).

The decree was published in the federal gazette on Friday. It goes into effect immediately, but is cancelled if not enacted as law by congress within 30 days.

Creation of the agency had previously been vetoed by Temer when signing the country’s general data protection legislation into law after it was passed in congress in July.

At the time Temer said that there was an a “constitutional flaw of origin” in the issue, arguing that congress did not have the constitutional power to create a regulatory body with budgetary independence and only the executive branch could do so.

The lack of such an authority was criticized by many observers, including corporations, digital rights lawyers and NGOs, all of whom feared that the absence of an independent and centralized body to oversee this important issue could either create legal uncertainty for businesses or water down the effects of the law and compliance.

According to the decree signed by Temer, however, the agency will remain within the structure of the office of the presidency, which could undermine the autonomy and independence originally considered for the body.

Temer’s decree also alters some of the items of the data protection law, particularly regarding the handling of citizens’ data in certain cases by state and public bodies and by private financial and health institutions.

The agency will have of a five-director board appointed by the president, and a 23-member advisory board formed by representatives of the public and private sectors, the internet steering committee and civil society.

It will be up to ANPD to oversee compliance of the law and determine specific guidelines for handling data in Brazil. The agency may apply fines of up to 2% of the annual revenues of a company, to a maximum of 50mn reais (US$12.9mn) per fine, against those breach the law.


It is not only the lack of confirmation by congress witin 30 days that could unravel the creation of the agency. The government of new president Jair Bolsonaro has already said that it will revise all contracts and acts signed by Temer in the last two months of his presidency, possibly repealing and undoing some of them.

An 84-page document with these and other guidelines of priority actions for the Bolsonaro government was delivered to the 22 future ministers and their closest aides during a meeting in Brasilia on Thursday.

The information presented and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CANTO and/or its members